John and Annie Woods

Photo courtesy of South Pacific Division Heritage Centre.

Woods, John Henry (1863–1925)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

John Henry Woods was born at Firth of Clyde, Scotland, on September 8, 1863. He emigrated to Australia with his parents and was raised in the gold-mining town of Maryborough, VIC. He learned the printing trade and entered a business partnership with Walter Miller in Melbourne.1

Miller and Woods were members of a Mutual Improvement Society. On one occasion in 1886 they adopted opposing sides for the purpose of debating the topic “Which Day Is the Sabbath?” Miller had become acquainted with newly arrived Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) evangelist John Corliss and invited him to make the introductory remarks at the debate. Corliss presented such a convincing case for the observance of Saturday that approximately twenty people joined the fledgling Australian SDA Church, including Miller and Woods.2 The membership list of the North Fitzroy church, Melbourne, includes the name of John H. Woods among the early converts who joined in 1886.3

For a few months Miller and Woods set the type for the Bible Echo and Signs of the Times in their printshop, and the galleys were carried to the little press at the SDA Echo Publishing House to print the periodical.4 By December 1886 Miller and Woods had sold their business and united with Echo Publishing.5 During 1888 Woods married Annie Miller Murray in Melbourne.6

A Shift to Ministerial Work

Woods became increasingly involved in church activities. In 1890 he was elected to the executive committee of the Sabbath School Association located in Melbourne.7 He was a Victorian delegate at the Australasian Union Conference session held at the Stanmore camp meeting, Sydney, in October 1897.8 Two months later, at the Balaclava camp meeting in Melbourne, he was elected president of the Central Australian Conference (CAC) Sabbath School Association9 and a member of the CAC executive committee.10 The following year, 1898, he was ordained at his home church, North Fitzroy. He was one of the first Australians to be ordained to the SDA ministry.11

In 1898 the executive of the CAC appointed Woods to pioneer in the colony of South Australia. He responded by conducting meetings for three months at Kadina on the Yorke Peninsula and ministering elsewhere in the colony.12 His efforts met with success. When the South Australian Conference was organised in 1899, Woods was elected its first president.13 He was reelected in 1901.14

In the southern summer of 1902/1903 Woods was back in his home state,15 where he was elected vice president of the Victorian Conference.16 He served in this role until he was appointed the president of the New South Wales Conference, 1908 through 1910.17 There followed eight more years as vice president in his home state, then named the Victoria-Tasmania Conference.18 After the World War I years he continued in pastoral work in the Victoria-Tasmania Conference.19 He was well known for his “kindliness,” “his friendly handshake” and “his noble and manly example.” His life was cut short with a brain hemorrhage; he lingered in a coma for a week until he died on January 21, 1925. He was buried in the Brighton General Cemetery, suburban Melbourne.20 Annie passed away on January 24, 1952, and is buried in the same cemetery.21 Their son, Norman, who served as treasurer of the Victorian Conference for a few years, survived them.22

Sources

Anderson, A[lbert] W. “J[ohn] H[enry] Woods.” Australasian Record, February 23, 1925.

Baker, W[illiam] L.H. “Annual Meeting of the Sabbath School Association.” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 1, 1890.

Colcord, W[illard] A. “Report of the Central Australian Sabbath School Association.” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898.

Daniells, A[rthur] G. “Australian Union Conference.” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898.

———. “Central Australian Conference.” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898.

———. “Organization of the South Australian Conference.” Union Conference Record, January 1, 1900.

District of Melbourne. Marriage Certificates. Victorian Government, Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Melbourne, Victoria.

Graham, E[dith] M. “Camp Meeting at Royal Park, Victoria.” Union Conference Record, December 1, 1903.

Irwin, Geo[rge] A. “Report of Labour.” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1901.

North Fitzroy Church. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Cooranbong, NSW. Box 709. Folder: “North Fitzroy Church.” Document: “Sabbath School Record and Register: 1885-1888.”

“Our force in the office has been increased . . . ” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, , December 1886.

Robinson, A[sa] T. “The Week of Prayer.” Union Conference Record, June 15, 1898.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904–1925.

Whittaker, E[dwin] G. “Annie Miller Woods.” Australasian Record, February 11, 1952.

Notes

  1. A[lbert] W. Anderson, “J[ohn] H[enry] Woods,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1925, 6.

  2. Ibid.

  3. North Fitzroy Church, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Cooranbong, NSW, Box 709 (Folder: “North Fitzroy Church”; Document: “Sabbath School Record and Register: 1885–1888”).

  4. Anderson, 6.

  5. “Our force in the office has been increased . . . ,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, December 1886, 192.

  6. District of Melbourne, Certificate of Marriage 3908 (1888), Victorian Government, Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Melbourne, VIC.

  7. W[illiam] L. H. Baker, “Annual Meeting of the Sabbath School Association,” Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, February 1, 1890, 44.

  8. A[rthur] G. Daniells, “Australian Union Conference,” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898, 1–3.

  9. W[illard] A. Colcord, “Report of the Central Australian Sabbath School Association,” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898, 18.

  10. A[rthur] G. Daniells, “Central Australian Conference,” Union Conference Record, January/February 1898, 16, 17.

  11. Anderson, 6.

  12. A[sa] T. Robinson, “The Week of Prayer,” Union Conference Record, June 15, 1898, 72–74.

  13. A[rthur] G. Daniells, “Organization of the South Australian Conference,” Union Conference Record, January 1, 1900, 12, 13.

  14. Geo[rge] A. Irwin, “Report of Labour,” Union Conference Record, October 1, 1901, 6–8.

  15. E[dith] M. Graham, “Camp Meeting at Royal Park, Victoria,” Union Conference Record, December 1, 1903, 2.

  16. E.g., “Victorian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1905), 67.

  17. E.g., “New South Wales Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1909), 95, 96.

  18. E.g., “Victoria-Tasmania Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912), 100.

  19. E.g., “Victoria-Tasmania Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920), 195, 196.

  20. Anderson, 6.

  21. E[dwin] G. Whittaker, “Annie Miller Woods,” Australasian Record, February 11, 1952, 7.

  22. E.g., “Victorian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1918), 147.

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Hook, Milton. "Woods, John Henry (1863–1925)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5IC3.

Hook, Milton. "Woods, John Henry (1863–1925)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5IC3.

Hook, Milton (2021, April 28). Woods, John Henry (1863–1925). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5IC3.